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I have recently bought a bottle of acetone from my local hardware store. When I opened the bottle, I was surprised about the absence of the strong smell of acetone. Only then I discovered the smaller printed words "Eco replacement" on the label:

acetone bottle label

On the backside, the bottle indicates the constituents as:

  • 2-Butoxyethanol
  • < 10 % anionic surfactants

I compared the chemical composition and characteristics of 2-Butoxyethanol and acetone. To the eyes of a non-chemist, they are very distinct substances. Both are very good solvents, 2-butoxyethanol seems less toxic than acetone. I am happy to believe that 2-butoxyethanol can replace acetone for very many applications, but I fail to find any application notes about 2-butoxyethanol as an acetone replacement.

My question is about the limits. Are there applications where 2-Butoxyethanol fails to replace acetone?

If this is too broad as a question, I would like to narrow it down to the two applications that I am really interested in:

  • use as a cleaner before applying glass fiber reinforced resins (epoxy or polyester). Acetone is usually used because it solves many polymers, but leaves polyester intact.
  • use to "rejuvenate" PEI (polyetherimide) coated heat beds for 3D printing. The materials to be removed from such heat beds are the printing materials (including PLA, PETG, and ABS), as well as glue stick residues, and body grease.

Is 2-Butoxyethanol a good choice for these uses?

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    $\begingroup$ You'll have to try it out. I'll say it seems likely. Your second point is surely uncritical, if it works, it works. Wether your resin sticks worse (or even better) after the replacement, your customers might find out in a year or ten. What would make me a bity wary are the tensides. They will stay on your surface. $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    Jun 9, 2019 at 8:34

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I tried exactly this liquid: it does not work at all for smoothening ABS. Even after a few hours there is no smoothing visible. The smell of this stuff is very different, 'sweet' like glycol, as to 'sharp' for acetone. It's an other chemical, that 'replaces' acetone only in the sense that it can act as a solvent for certain materials (but not ABS). The label is misleading, and in the NL the company has been ordered to change the label, in 2016.

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